Coming, The New London Bus

In engineering terms, the New Bus for London will be 15 per cent more fuel efficient than existing hybrid buses and 40 per cent more efficient than conventional diesel double-deckers.

—- Designs for the new bus were unveiled by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in May 2010. A first prototype developed by Wrightbus will be complete in early 2011.

It’s all about REE demand again. Under severe pressure to meet Europe’s clean air city regulations and avoid fines (£300 million,) Transport for London (TfL) held a competition for a new specially designed “clean green” double-decker bus, the first 5 of which will be up and running before year end. To date London already has 56 hybrid busses running in tests, supplied by 4 different manufacturers in single and double-decker form, including a single-decker HEV “bendy bus”.   The new busses are able to deliver a significant fuel efficiency saving over the existing HEVs and come in at roughly the same cost.

If successful, the new HEV London bus (diesel-electric) is intended to replace hundreds of existing diesel London busses from 2012 onwards, improving not just air quality in central London, but also delivering a much lower street noise level in the city.  The new Wrightbus built busses, are powered by  electric motors directly powering the wheels, supplied by a diesel engine powering the generator. Excess power from the generator and regenerative braking is stored in Lithium-ion batteries. Work is underway to eventually also recapture the waste heat from the diesel motors exhaust system.  Our world is about to go greener in so many ways in this decade ahead.

Boris’s Bus (A Political Journey) Part 30: It Hums

May 27, 2011

I ran away to London to interview punk rockers, not to learn more than might be healthy about the arcane frontiers of omnibus technology. But there I was at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. There was the New Bus For London, still occasionally known as the New Routemaster. And there was Boris Johnson declaiming proudly from its rear open platform about its “permanent magnet motor” and several other things that neither of us understand.

“This is a marvel of technology,” he said, addressing the assembled news-gatherers from the revivalist pulpit of the open rear platform. “Have any of you been stuck behind a bus on Oxford Street, throbbing, panting, chuntering away emitting huge great belches of emissions?” (He meant the bus, not us). “If you have, this bus is the answer.”

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The second thing was that it was quiet – quiet enough, perhaps, not to oblige you to start yelling mid-mobile conversation as it hums past you when you’re walking along a pavement. And then there’s the promise that it will disgorge a third less health-hurting particulate matter and 40 percent less nitrogen oxide than standard diesel buses.

TfL  Hybrid Buses Fact Sheet
 There are three main types of hybrid bus operated by TfL: series hybrids; parallel hybrids; and blended hybrids.

In a series hybrid there is no mechanical link between the engine and drive axle. The engine powers a generator that charges the battery pack. The battery pack drives an electric motor that turns the bus wheels via a conventional rear axle.

In a parallel hybrid the engine powers the drive axle and a generator that can either charge the battery pack or directly drive the axle.

Once again from our RMB perspective, it is all about under reported technology change coming in, that’s heavily reliant on the future availability of REEs and REE oxides. While the UK isn’t likely to benefit yet from adding a solar roof to this type of bus, in many other parts of the world, such as China, that development is already underway. The UK and much of northern Europe will need to await the next generation of solar efficiency development now underway in the labs, with much of it involving last year’s announcements in nanotechnology.  Somehow I suspect that by 2015-16 onwards, London will be fitting solar roofs too.